How EVs Support Energy Supply and Equality-the Test of the UK

More and more electric vehicles (EV) are on the road. Compared with 2020, the global sales of electric vehicles in the first half of 2021 have increased by 168%, and it is estimated that their cost will be the same as or even lower than that of internal combustion engine (gasoline and diesel) vehicles by 2028 at the latest. As many governments propose to ban the sale of internal-combustion vehicles, electric vehicles will become more and more common in the next decade.

But the popularity of electric vehicles has also brought a series of challenges. Although the UK’s national energy supplier has assured consumers that there is “absolutely enough energy” to promote the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles, the problem is how to power the vehicles in a sustainable and cheap way.

Our local network is not designed to charge millions of cars at the same time. As we move towards a zero-carbon power system with variable wind and solar power, energy may not be available when we need it most.

The key to solving this problem is to ensure that electric vehicles can be charged in an economical way with large amounts of wind and solar power. Coordinating this requires a lot of planning and government investment in smart charging networks.

How to charge?
When deciding how to charge an electric vehicle, a key consideration is the "dwelling time" of the vehicle at the charging location.

If drivers work at home at night or during the day-so they are not in a hurry to charge-they can use a 7 kW charger, which is a standard household charger in the UK, to charge their car for a week (about 250 kilometers) in an eight-hour meeting. But if the driver decides to use the same charger to charge their car, and they only need 45 minutes to go to the supermarket, they can only get about 30 kilometers of extra battery life: enough for only one day of driving.

Residence time and charging speed

Credit: Rachel Lee